After my recent postings on the now-demolished Galloupe House in the North End, Boston 1775 reader Richard De Fonce alerted me to the Boston Public Library’s Flickr set of Old Boston Photographs.
The collection includes a photograph of the Galloupe House on Hull Street, from the same perspective as its nineteenth-century engravings. I guess there was only one way to get a good look at it since it was hemmed in by other buildings.
De Fonce noted that the nearby Hart House (shown here) is also identified as “Headquarters to General Thomas Gage during the Battle of Bunker Hill” in its online caption. However, this is clearly a case of “memory creep”; all the information about the Galloupe House in MacDonald’s Old Copp’s Hill and Burying Ground, including its construction date of 1724, has been assigned to the Hart House as well. Rambles in Old Boston shows and discusses what it calls the Hartt House without noting any Revolutionary significance.
The B.P.L.’s online collection includes a picture of Province House, official residence of the royal governors—where Gage definitely had his main headquarters. This is not a photograph but an engraving which was printed in many histories.
Province House remained standing until 1922, so why don’t we have good photographs of it? By the time photography was invented, the house had been hemmed in on all sides by other buildings. It no longer looked stately, as it did in the eighteenth century. In fact, it probably looked like what it had become: a dark, rundown commercial building.
I’m going to pull up and discuss other images from the B.P.L.’s collection as it strikes me, but here are some random highlights to check out:
- The stone mansion on Beacon Hill that John Hancock inherited from his uncle Thomas.
- The small North End house of schoolmaster John Tileston.
- The North End mansion of Customs official Sir Harry and Lady Agnes Frankland.
- An often-reproduced engraving of the Green Dragon Tavern, based on a painting by John Johnson.